Wrestling: South Elgin dominates UEC meet, Glenbard East 2nd
The South Elgin Storm started off the postseason Saturday with a dominating performance at the Upstate Eight Conference wrestling meet at East Aurora High School.
South Elgin racked up 250.5 points with Glenbard East in second at 194 and West Chicago scoring 193.
East Aurora (135), Bartlett (112), Fenton (96), Elgin (93), Glenbard South (85) and Larkin and Streamwood (75 each) followed.
"I thought today went great. We were focused and locked in ready to wrestle," said Storm coach James Gloudeman.
The team has a couple of final tuneups this week at Waubonsie Valley and Maine South before Feb. 4's Class 3A Streamwood individual regional.
"We'll use this as motivation and keep the foot on the gas pedal and we'll have a full lineup," Gloudeman said.
South Elgin won four individual titles beginning with Demetrios Carrera at 106 pounds with a fall at 2:27. Starting with Andre Rios' fall at 4:48 at 132, the team won three straight weight classes that also included Leo Rosas' 8-4 decision at 138 and Nico Clinite at 145 prevailing due to an injury default.
Glenbard East won two individual championships. Ismael Chaidez won by fall at 3:59 at 120 and Blake Salvino at 182 had his arm raised after a fall in 1:59.
Elgin also went home with two top prizes. Julius Avendano's 11-5 decision at 113 put him on top of the victory stand. Teammate Adam Lambaz closed out the afternoon, winning the 285 crown with a fall at 1:13.
West Chicago's Connor Zentner was 126 champ on a 10-3 decision in the final. Larkin got a title courtesy of David Miranda's 9-4 decision at 152.
Fenton's Jovany Zuniga, at 160, made quick work of his final prevailing by fall in just 1:13.
Streamwood's Jack Wolf (195) and East Aurora's Bryan Romero (220) both won by fall in 4:33 and 2:56 respectively.
Each wrestler at Saturday's meet brought an array of different experiences this season and past seasons.
For Rios of South Elgin, it was his goal to beat his opponent who had defeated him at conference in 2022.
"I went out to wrestle hard. I thought about the last two matches (Rios had beaten him during the regular season). I was nervous before the match. But then I thought, 'I got this,'" he said. "This means a lot getting a conference title as a senior."
What a difference a year made for Zuniga.
"This is very satisfying. Last year (at conference) I was 0-3. It's a big improvement," he said.
A good portion of the crowd sang "Happy Birthday" as Elgin's Lambaz stood on the top of the medals stand.
Lambaz turned 18 Saturday as he earned his second conference title.
"This feels amazing. I couldn't ask for a better birthday present," he said. "I thought I performed very well. With regionals I'm going to continue the hard work and grind out the next two weeks," he said.